By Ada Li
Letting go of a toxic friendship is usually a difficult decision. The more time invested in the relationship means the harder it is to let go, even if it destroys your mental wellbeing. I have had my fair share of toxic friends throughout my 22 years of life. Personally, I hate the word toxic because it sounds a little too harsh and implies that person is evil to the core. That being said, I could not come up with a better word to replace it.
So what defines a toxic friend? It is someone who constantly put you down and makes you question your self worth even when you express that you are hurt by his or her remarks. Instead of being there for you, a toxic friend is nowhere to be found when you need help, but they expect you to be there for them. You’re the one in the friendship who is always giving and the toxic friend is always receiving. Not even in a million years will the toxic friend genuinely feel happy for your success. Worst yet, a toxic friend will never support you in the first place. A toxic friend brings negativity into your life, eventually turning you into someone else’s toxic friend. The toxic friend loves to fuel jealousy and anger instead of offering substantial advice. They bring out the worst in you because they offer the worst of themselves to the friendship.
Keep in mind that not all of these characteristics apply to every friend; it depends on the individual.
So why is it so hard to let go when this person is affecting your mental wellbeing? As human beings, we are sentimental people. We love to hold onto things, and try to rationalize why it makes sense to hold onto them. In the end, it is an unhealthy friendship you must let go of, especially when the toxic friend doesn’t acknowledge their shortcomings in the friendship.
The question remaining is, “How do you let go of a toxic friend?” It is a hard question to answer and there is no definite answer However, there are some not so nice ways of ending things and you definitely don’t want to end a friendship on a sour note. Letting go isn’t about making enemies; it is about separating on the best terms as possible.
When approaching a person about the toxic friendship, remember not to be petty. Engage the conversation in a civil manner, no matter how much the person has wronged you. It’s going to feel awkward and weird but you owe it to yourself in letting the other party know why you’re ending this friendship. The worst thing you can do is ghost the person. Just don’t do it. It creates more problems and awkwardness in the long run. Also, do not pretend that you two are still friends in front of mutual friends and acquaintances even when you have ghosted the person. There is nothing wrong with letting others know that you two are no longer friends. Do not, however, try to change their perception of the person because, in a lot of situations, your toxic friend is not someone else’s toxic friend.
The most important thing to remember is that part of letting go is saying goodbye to all of the negativity created by the toxic friend and welcoming positivity back into your life. You will only truly let go when you have a neutral opinion of that person.